Every day when I walk into West Linn High School I see girls who could be found on the pages of Seventeen or Vogue. These girls look seemingly perfect with their flawless complexion, glossy lips and long eyelashes. For most girls at our high school there seems to be a barrier between those girls and the other girls, ones who don’t wear as much makeup.

A common misconception between high school students is that this barrier can’t be broken. Most believe that the animosity is too thick and the walls are too high. I would’ve been stuck in the same trap if not for one amazing week at summer camp that changed my life. When I boarded the bus that would take me to Creekside for camp the furthest thing from my mind was the barrier between the West Linn High School girls. However, I was thinking about makeup, or the lack thereof on my face. I thought about television shows like the Kardashians and the Eastwoods, how they make me feel like I have to paint my face like I am the newest member of the Barnum and Bailey clown car team.

Meanwhile makeup makes me feel small, distant. I felt like Kim, Khloe and Kourtney are pulling me in opposite directions and I haven’t even met them! For that reason I was going to have a makeup free time at summer camp. I could be myself without having to worry about all things gloopy and glossy.

Staying gloopy- and glossy-free was going to be harder than I thought. My cabin mates had brought with them brands of makeup I didn’t even know existed. Part of me had expected all of this makeup because I knew these girls from school and knew of their love of makeup. What I hadn’t expected was for me to move beyond my barriers and actually get to know my cabin mates as people. Despite barriers at school I found myself becoming close with these individuals — forming bonds and chipping away at the barriers.

There was no question that Creekside was the best camp I had ever been to, but there was one aspect I had been dreading since I arrived: formal night. The whole camp would be dressed to the nines in a makeup-palooza fest that I thought was scarier than it was pretty.

Hours before the party, I was having a panic attack in the bathroom. After meeting these incredible people could I get over my fear of makeup? Just at that moment, my four new friends walked in the door. One of my new friends, Emma, jumped at the chance to do my hair and makeup. That was the turning point. As she worked magic with the eyeliner the barrier broke.

It was at this moment that I discovered the barrier had never been there. The only problem had been that I wasn’t willing to put myself in the other person’s shoes. My problem hadn’t been makeup and it hadn’t even been making new friends. I forgot that everyone’s opinion matters. Having unnecessary fears keeps you from meeting the incredible people who will help you gain better perspective on life and reach goals you wouldn’t be able to otherwise.

Madison Staten is a freshman at West Linn High School.

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